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Past Issue
April, 2014

The USRCCNE Monthly Newsletter
For those with interests bridging the US and Russia

USRCCNE Welcome!
From Dan Satinsky, President, USRCCNE

The situation in Ukraine and the detioration in US-Russian relations continues. This month's USRCCNE newsletter gives a brief update on how these crises will affect international business in Russia and travel abroad. This is, of course, in addition to news from our members and other news for those with interests in Russia's economy.

The media and public focus of the Ukrainian crisis continues to be on the political struggle between the Kiev government and the activists occupying government buildings in eastern and southern Ukraine, with the US and EU supporting Kiev and Russia supporting the activists. Meanwhile the struggles of the Ukrainian economy, which pre-date the Maidan insurrection, continue to fester in the background. It is likely that the next round of the crisis in Ukraine will merge the political and economic crises into a fight over gas payments and gas shipments. Most Western journalists, including the Financial Times, do not seem to understand that Russia and Ukraine have two contracts for natural gas. One is the transit contract under which Russia pays Ukraine for transit through its pipeline to European customers. The other is to supply domestic Ukrainian gas requirements. The Ukrainians did not pay for gas in March so, under terms of the contract, Russia had the right to remove the discounted price and demand pre-payment. The last time there was a price dispute in 2009, Russia refused to provide Ukraine gas that Ukraine was not paying for. In response,  Ukraine took the gas destined for Europe and used it domestically. The Western media version of this is that Russia cut off gas supplies to Europe and Ukraine. So Putin's letter to European governments warned that a similar circumstance may be developing and asked for an international conference to discuss stabilizing the Ukrainian economy. The only response has been from the US State Department, who was not sent a copy of the letter, stating that Russia had no right to change the price and was threatening Ukraine. So the crisis is morphing into a gas energy war.

We hope that you are all critically following the news of these historic event, which will impact our business interests abroad.

Best,

Dan Satinsky, President, USRCCNE

Don't Miss This Month!

As always, this newsletter is dependent on you. If you have an announcement or a news item to be included in our newsletter, or if you would like to subscribe to this free publication, please contact us.

Upcoming Events

Film: Russian Ark
(May 3, 8, 2014 - Clinton, MA) In this film, one continuous camera shot bears witness to 300 years of Russian history via a fantastical journey through the Hermitage Museum, former Winter Palace of the Tsars. A not-to-be-missed experience for Russophiles and lovers of art, film and history.

Pushkin Hills in Prospect Heights
(May 8, 2014 - Brooklyn, NY) Sergei Dovlatov's novel "Pushkin Hills" has been retranslated by his daughter Katherine Dovlatov who "captures the wit and bittersweet irony of her father's Russian rural comedy" (The Guardian). Katherine is presenting the book with the help of her friends, Masha Gessen, Anya Ulinich and Alex Halberstadt all of whom are long-time admirers of Dovlatov's writing. The program is in English.

Concert: From Moscow to Tin Pan Alley
(May 17, 2014 - Clinton, MA) This program is inspired by the passionate songs and piano pieces written by composers of Russian heritage or taken from musicals with Russian stories. Some favorite songs include “April in Paris,” “Full Moon and Empty Arms,” “Stranger in Paradise,” and “But Not for Me” by songwriters such as Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, Vernon Duke, Yip Harburg and others.

Kharmful Charms of Daniil Kharms
(June 12-29, 2014 - Los Angeles, CA) This evening of not-so-innocent pranks and antics, vignettes and dreamlike incidents is where the St. Petersburg eccentric Daniil Kharms meets a unique brand of clownpunk. This is a Russian absurdist comedy at its most illogical, violent, sad and hilarious.

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USRCCNE and Member News

Entrepreneurship Events in a Time of Political Crisis
Daniel Satinsky discusses how current politics are affecting the current international business climate inside Russia.

Crimea's Effect on Study Abroad
SRAS carefully monitors events everywhere we have students. As the situations in both the Ukraine and Crimea crises are now becoming clearer, we'd like to assess what effects they may have on study abroad in general and on any students who are on the ground.

Alinga Recognized for United Way Service
Chet Bowling, Managing Partner of Alinga, attended the annual donors reception hosted by United Way Russia on March 19th at the Historical Museum, in Moscow. Alinga Consulting, which has been the corporate auditor for United Way for more than five years, received special mention by Tatiana Zadirako, the charity's CEO.

Vestnik: Call for Papers!
Vestnik, the Journal of Russian and Asian Studies, is the world's first online journal focused on showcasing papers written by undergraduates, graduates, and postgraduates. Papers will be eligible for a $200 Jury Award and are due by May 15, 2014.

Travel and Transport

Russian Test for Employment Visas?
Russia's Federation Council is considering a bill, which would require foreign citizens to confirm that they know the Russian language, history, and fundamental laws in order to obtain an employment visa or residence permit.

Aeroexpress Electronic Tickets Now Discounted
As of 1 May 2014, Aeroexpress will amend their tariff policy in favour of electronic sales channels. The price of tickets purchased online or using the Pay@Gate service will remain the same.

Russian Visa Needed to Visit Crimea
Foreigners will need to hold a Russian visa to enter Crimea, and those already there will have to contact Russian authorities for information on how to leave Crimea.

Russia Mulls Easing Visa Requirements for Tourists
Russia's parliament is due to consider a draft law lengthening the validity of tourist visas and easing the requirements for obtaining them, a government website said Friday.

Ukraine Quits CIS, Sets Visa Regime with Russia
The interim government in Kiev says Ukraine will leave the commonwealth of post-Soviet states, require Russians to apply for entry visas, and plans to ask the United Nations to make Crimea a demilitarized zone.

Crimeans Required to Apply for EU Visas in Ukraine
The European Union banned to issue all kinds of European visas, including Schengen, to Crimeans in the embassies and in the visa centers of EU countries on Russian territory, the press service of the European Commission reports.

Russian Ports Pose Challenges for Oil Companies
The limited capacity of the existing Russian ports is a major operational challenge for oil companies who need dedicated berths and storage areas within ports for supply base operations.
 

Ship Builders in Russia's Far East to Receive $20 Billion
Orders for construction of more than 160 ships are to be placed with the Far Eastern ship building cluster.

Never Too Many Books!
 
Memories of a Collective Farm in Estonia A Concise History of the Baltic States Trust But Verify: Reagan, Russia and me
Everything is wonderful History_Baltic_States trust but verify
     
The Myth of Siberia in Russian Culture A Geography of Russia and Its Neighbors How the CIA made Dr. Zhivago a political tool
Between Heaven and Hell Geography of Russia and Its Neighbors 10003965_10152071868898753_

Post-Soviet-Conflict-Banner 
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contact us! Free for members!

Articles - Crimea

Text of The Hague Declaration
Text of a declaration issued by G7 leaders meeting in The Hague, Netherlands on actions to take against Russia.

Ukraine Update in 7 Sentences
The following is a list of seven general points to be aware of as the Ukraine / Crimea Crisis continues to develop. This resource has been constructed primarily for professors seeking to encourage classroom discussions on current events.

The Lesson of Crimea is the Power of Education
The US can remain a world leader only through critical thought, education, and travel.

Decline in US Expertise on Russia
With Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, the US media and a growing number of senior government, policy and academic experts are raising concerns about the decline in US expertise on Russia. While the media reports have focused on Russia experts, the concerns apply equally to experts on others parts of Eastern Europe and Eurasia.

Why Washington and Moscow Keep Talking Past Each Other
Throughout the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, government leaders in Russia and the United States have not only disagreed about how to resolve the situation; they have consistently been talking past each other.

US Policy Towards Russia
This article gives an excellent summation of the current state of US-Russia relations and how they are changing.

Let's Invade Ukraine. Where Is It?
Although two-thirds of Americans have reported following the situation at least “somewhat closely,” most Americans actually know very little about events on the ground — or even where the ground is.

Ukraine: New Law Violates Judicial Independence
A law passed by the Ukrainian parliament on April 8, 2014, violates guarantees of judicial independence and should be set aside.

Most Ukrainians are Neither Loyal Russians nor Fascists
In the propaganda war between Putin and the west, the complexities of Ukraine, and its people's interests, are ignored.

Articles - Business and Society

Language Connections
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Russian Technoparks Face Low Domestic Innovation Demand
As more and more technoparks, IT parks, business incubators and other costly real estate projects spring up across Russia, observers, including innovation market players and start-ups seeking residency in these, are getting increasingly interested to know if the multimillion dollar projects are really worth spending that much. Subscribe to Marchmont News Service

Crimea May Become Russian Gambling Zone
It will be up to the new authorities in Crimea to decide the location and extent of the planned casino zone.

The Future's in Their Hands
Sociologists have conducted research on what professions Russian parents would like their children to do in the future. 

Renewable Energy in the EU: Change of Priorities
The EU is modifying its strategy for renewable energy in order to reduce the share of support it offers. 

Mega Oilfield Discovered in Southern Russia
Rosneft is expected to lead the development of the one-billion-dollar deposit.

Boris Akimov: Agriculture as the Basis of a New Russia
Boris Akimov is a leading Russian entrepreneur, activist, and thinker.

Russia Urges Companies to Delist Abroad Amid Sanctions
Russia urged companies to delist their shares from overseas stock exchanges and trade in Moscow in an effort to safeguard them as international sanctions mount against the country after its takeover of Crimea.

No, Russia Isn't Going Broke Any Time Soon
Russia finally succeeded in selling government bonds this week, at a fat yield of 8.93 percent. This comes after four failed auctions since the Crimea occupation started.

Russia to Create National Payment System
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Thursday that a national payment system similar to those of Japan and China would be created.

US-Russia Tax Agreement Will Go Forward
Tensions between Moscow and Washington will not derail the two countries from signing an agreement on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act or FATCA, Russia's Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov said Wednesday.

Major Companies Boost Corruption Fight With Help of New Law
Large companies in Russia are taking vigorous steps against corruption under the threat of prosecution abroad, even as the domestic legal system veers between stern threats and erratic enforcement.

Why Russia Isn't Afraid of US Gas Exports
During his recent speech in Brussels, U.S. President Barack Obama said the U.S. could soon become a major supplier of gas to Europe and allow countries that are currently "hostage" to gas imports from Russia to have an alternative supply source at a cheaper price.

Costs and Benefits from Russia's Annexation of Crimea
Russia is getting out its chequebook to bankroll the region of Crimea, newly incorporated into Russia following its rapid annexation last month.

Capital Outflow from Russia Due to Ruble Rate, Not Crimea
The outflow of capital from Russia is not tied to events in Ukraine, but to fluctuations in the exchange rate of the ruble, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said Thursday.

Ukraine-Russia: Headlines Get Worse but Gas is the Key Indicator
The headlines from east Ukraine over the weekend will unsettle markets at the start of trading today. The situation is clearly very dangerous and largely unpredictable.

Politics Test Silicon Valley's Russian Ties
Entrepreneurs and investors say Silicon Valley's fast-growing financial ties with Russia's tech sector are being slowed down by current political tensions between the White House and the Kremlin.

Top 8 Easter Egg Traditions
Language Connections shares with you eight of the top Easter egg traditions and where they originated. Subscribe to the LanguageConnections Newsletter

Russian Corner: Accounting for Vacation Time in Russia
Workers in Russia are entitled to 28 calendar days of full vacation annually. This guaranteed minimum has been established by law and ensures that both Russian citizens as well as foreign citizens working in Russia will retain their job (position) and will receive their average salary. Subscribe to the Alinga Market Update

Just for Fun: Russia Has No Easter Bunny
So how do Russians prepare for Easter? This is a quick tour of Easter preparations as observed on 19 April, 2014 at a small church in southern Moscow. Subscribe to the SRAS Newsletter


If you have views or material you would like to contribute to the newsletter, please contact us.
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Members of the USRCCNE become a part of a vibrant network of individuals and firms dedicated to furthering business opportunities between the U.S. and Russia. We work with business organizations in the US, (specializing in the New England region) and in Russia to bring exposure to the USRCCNE, and ultimately, to our members. Join today!

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